There are many people around the world who ask how many miles is a marathon. The answer to that question is 26.2 miles. I ran 2:19:35 for the marathon in 2007 at the California International Marathon. There are many people who can run a marathon at slower paces. Of course, it still takes fitness and endurance to run a marathon at these paces. It is an art form to run a marathon at faster paces. So, to run a marathon fast you have to improve your body’s lactate tolerance. This is why the Kenyans and other runners around the world make it look so easy.
They have spent sufficient time training at, near or far below goal marathon race pace. The problem for many runners training for marathons is pace sustainment. Of course, many people can run a portion of the marathon at goal pace. It is a much bigger task to hold race pace for the entire 26.2 mile distance. I created running courses and training plans to help athletes get better results by working smarter rather than harder. Remember, if you are running too many miles or kilometers too slow it will only help you build endurance. The only way to get race pace to feel easier and more efficient is training at your Vo2max and anaerobic threshold.
How Many Miles is a True Marathon?
A true marathon is 41.195 kilometers or 26.2 miles. The world record for the marathon for women is 2:14:01 and for me, 2:01:39. These are absurdly fast times and the athletes who ran these times are highly efficient athletes. These athletes did not get this fit overnight. I recently made a video about the process that goes into the event (end goal). We all always see the fast times but what we don’t see is the process or hard work that went into these incredible times.
The process is never seen. It is the miles and kilometers great athletes put in that are never seen. Also, many people say that athletes are talented. Yes, there is some truth to this. That being said, talent that doesn’t work will get beat by the athlete who has desire and work ethic. So, don’t rely specifically on your talent to get by. You had best be putting in the work in order to get legitimate results.
How Do I Run a Faster Marathon?
The focus first should be on building easy, relaxed mileage. You cannot build a house without first ensuring the foundation is legitimate. I always talk about in my YouTube videos the importance of doing faster long runs. No, you don’t immediately start doing long runs at faster paces. So, you first have to spend 4 to 6 weeks running easy mileage first. The training plans and running courses I have created here are 16 weeks long. So, we focus on periodization. The focus is stressing the body for 3 to 4 weeks before moving to the next intensity. It takes the body approximately 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load being placed upon it.
So, the benefits of the workouts you are doing today will be seen weeks from now. Faster paced long runs will help improve your stamina and strength. In addition, you will be running at a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate. I recommend when very fit doing your long runs at 160 beats per minute or about 85 to 88% of your maximum heart rate. Of course, heart rate monitor training is going to vary from athlete to athlete and based on age. A good way to get an estimate of what your maximum heart rate is, is subtracting your age from 220.
Will Running a Marathon Make Me Faster?
No. Faster training will make you faster. Remember, you need to improve your body’s lactate tolerance and recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these you can recruit the more efficient and economical you are going to race at. The problem is far too many runners spend too much of their weekly volume spent at aerobic rather than anaerobic efforts. The best runners around the world make it look easy for a reason. They are spending about 40 to 45 percent of their weekly training volume at paces that are much faster than they are aiming to race at. Again, it is about training smarter, not necessarily harder.
I have known many runners who know how to train hard and yet don’t always get the results they are aiming at. Why? Too many miles or kilometers run at paces significantly slower than the pace they are trying to run their marathons at. So, you need to be strategic about what you are doing. There are athlete achieving more running 30 miles a week than some who are running over 100 miles a week. No, running a marathon will not make you faster. What will is hard, concentrated, anaerobic track and road workouts. Again, always focus on building you speed development.
How Can I Increase My Long Distance Running Pace?
Do 1, Vo2max workout per week. In addition, start doing longer tempo runs spent at your anaerobic threshold. Our anaerobic threshold is the point where lactic acid starts to build up in the blood stream. A big mistake marathoners make is doing tempo runs that are too short. Of course, a 3 to 4 mile tempo run may be a great workout for a miler or 5K specialist. That being said, this is far too short for a marathoner. Again, the focus should always be on improving the athletes lactate tolerance. The reason being is you will slow down in your race much further along then your competitors. The people seeking how many miles is a marathon are already highly driven individuals. You have to be in order to run a marathon and even more so to run one fast.
In addition, you will be training in such a way that you will be burning fat at race pace. Also, conserving what we have much less of during the race and that is carbohydrates. A big reason runners hit the so-called “wall” is they run out of sugar (glycogen). We only have about 1800 calories of carbohydrates stored in our bodies at any given time. What we do have much more of is fat storage. So, train in such a way that you are utilizing what you have much more of, fats. The reason why this is important is you will have those essential carbs to call upon in the latter stages of your upcoming marathon. The key thing is to train in such a way to make this a reality. Also, you will not experience a wall if you do this correctly.
So, how many miles is a marathon? 26.2 miles or 42.195 kilometers. Remember, train smarter not harder. It makes no sense to go out doing 100 miles or more week too slow. Yes, you will certainly build endurance but not speed. Speed and pace sustainment is what counts when it comes to racing a marathon successfully. I am a big believer in mental training as well. We as runners always focus on physical training and often times neglect mental preparation. You have to see yourself performing at the highest of levels in your mind first. I practiced seeing myself running under the 2:22:00 marathon barrier and broke 2:20:00 for the marathon instead.
No, it was most certainly not easy. That being said, the best middle to long distance runners know the importance of mental preparation. You also need to focus on proper hydration and taking in sufficient calories during your marathon. Also, paying attention to the amount of sleep you are getting. There are many factors that go into running a marathon successfully. Click the button below to check out our courses and training plans. Are you seeking to take your training and racing to the next level? If so, I highly recommend them.